Pet Travel

Are you ready to travel with your pet?

The staff at Torrey Pines Animal Hospital can help you get ready!

We strongly advise that you are well-informed, have the required documentation, prescriptions, and flight details before traveling with your pet.

Travel requirements for domestic travel with pets can vary depending on the state of destination and mode of transportation. Please visit the USDA website to read about the requirements for domestic travel. Destinations such as Hawaii require more extensive planning, you can read about additional travel requirements here ( Always check with your specific airline or transportation provider for their pet travel requirements and policies, as they can vary and may change over time.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Heath Certificate: Most airlines and some other forms of transportation require a health certificate from a veterinarian confirming that your pet is healthy and up to date on vaccinations. This certificate is usually valid for a specific period of time (usually within 10 or 14 days of travel), so make sure to check the requirements of your specific transportation provider.
  • Identification: Your pet should have proper identification, such as a collar with an ID tag and/or a microchip with your contact information.
  • Travel Carrier: Pets typically need to be transported in an airline-approved carrier or crate that allows them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Make sure the carrier meets the size and material requirements of your transportation provider.
    Vaccinations: Ensure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date, including rabies. Some states may have specific vaccination requirements.
  • Temperature Restrictions: Some airlines have temperature restrictions for pet travel, especially in extremely hot or cold weather. Check with your airline for their specific policies.
  • Pet Policies: Familiarize yourself with the pet policies of your chosen transportation provider, including any fees associated with pet travel.

International travel with pets involves additional requirements and preparations compared to domestic travel. We strongly urge all clients who will be traveling internationally with their pets to visit the USDA website ( and familiarize yourselves with your destination country’s requirements to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Microchip: Many countries require pets to be microchipped for identification purposes. The 15-digit ISO microchip is usually required, and if you are traveling to an EU country and your pet has a nine or ten-digit microchip, you can choose to either have a 15-digit pet microchip implanted or you will need to carry your microchip scanner.
  • Rabies Vaccination & Certificate: Most countries require pets to be vaccinated against rabies. You’ll need a rabies vaccination certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian, showing the pet’s microchip number, the vaccine manufacturer, the name of the vaccine, and the vaccine’s expiration date. Keep in mind that some countries require that the microchip be implanted before the rabies vaccine.
  • Health Certificate: A veterinarian must issue a health certificate stating that your pet is healthy and fit for travel. This certificate is usually required with a certain time frame before departure. Additionally, USDA endorsement of the health certificate accompanied by any other required documentation or testing is required for most international destinations. Time must be allotted to have those documents submitted to the USDA for endorsement and returned in time to travel.
  • Import Permit: Some countries require an import permit for pets. Research the specific requirements of your destination country and obtain any necessary permits well in advance of travel.
  • Quarantine: Certain countries have quarantine requirements for incoming pets. Make sure you understand the quarantine regulations of your destination and plan accordingly.
  • Specific Vaccinations or Tests: Depending on the destination, additional vaccinations or tests may be required, such as a blood titer test to confirm rabies immunity, also referred to as a Rabies Titer. This blood test is sent out to a specific laboratory and can take over a month to have results returned, so please plan accordingly.
  • Travel Crate: Use an airline-approved travel crate or carrier that meets the International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards for size, ventilation, and security. Label the crate with your contact information and your pet’s name.
  • Documentation: Carry copies of all necessary documentation, including vaccination certificates, health certificates, import permits, and any other relevant paperwork.